Born: 29 April 1837 in Jackson County, Tennessee
Died: 5 January 1916in Putnam County, Tennessee
Buried: West Cemetery, Putnam County, Tennessee
Parents: Joe and Nancy (McCaleb) Ray

Married: Celia Margaret West on 23 February 1860 in Putnam County, Tennessee
Born: 28 August 1838 in Jackson County, Tennessee
Died: 11 October 1928in Putnam County, Tennessee
Buried: West Cemetery, Putnam County, Tennessee
Parents: John and Mary (Brown) West


  1. Mary Arminta Elizabeth Ray
  2. Martha T. Ray
  3. Joseph Robinson Ray
  4. John Hensley Ray
  5. Daniel Wilburn Ray
  6. Samuel Marshall Ray


  • Brother-in-Law: John T. Pendergrass - 8th Tennessee (Dibrell's) Cavalry Regiment
  • Brother-in-Law: Francis Marion West - 8th Tennessee (Dibrell's) Cavalry
  • Brother-in-Law: George W. West - 8th Tennessee (Dibrell's) Cavalry
  • Brother-in-Law: Martin West - 8th Tennessee (Dibrell's) Cavalry
  • Brother-in-Law: Granville West - 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiment


13th (Gore's) Tennessee Cavalry
(also known as 8 thTennessee Cavalry)
Company H


  • Entered the service as a Private and left the service as a Private
  • Enlisted15 September 1862 at White County
  • 12 Oct 1862: Present



( Download Full Pension Application)


  • Filed April 30, 1907
  • Rejected
  • Resident of Cookeville, TN
  • Member: Co H, Captain James Barnes, 8th TeN Cavalry, Col George G. Dibrell
  • Born: Jackson County, 28 April 1837
  • Enlisted: 9 October 1862 in Company H in Captain James Barnes in 8th TN Cavalry, Col. George G. Dibrell
  • Battles: Parker's X Rds, Humbolt, Truine, Franklin, Forked Deer, Neely's Bend, Lexington, Franklin Pike
  • Diseases Mumps and fever
  • Married: Wife is 69 years; One son 30 years old living with him
  • Attest: Columbus Jackson Davis & Thomas Farris

Supporting Documents:

  • Rutledge Smith to the Pension Board (22 Apr 1907) - Please put WLR on the Pension Roll
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (4 Jul 1907) - Requested Service Records
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (9 Jul 1907) - Requested Service Records
  • Special Examiner to Rutledge Smith (13 Aug 1907) - Sends Status
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (20 Aug 1907) - Sends Status
  • WLR (7 Oct 1907) - Was parolled in Sep or Oct 1863
    • Never again did he take up arms
    • A gang of scouts came to WLR's home and robbed him of his saddle pocket which contained all his papers.
    • WLR & sons are dealers in the Fire & Stove Wood
  • Rutledge Smith (10 Oct 1907) - Requests status of WLR's application
  • Rutledge Smith (23 Oct 1907) - Requests status of WLR's application
  • ?? J. Smith (27 Feb 1908) - Supports his claim
  • H. D. Whitson (27 Feb 1908) - Supports his claim
  • WLR (27 Feb 1908) -
    • He joined the service in the fall of 1862.
    • He was engaged in 11 engagements with the enemy. He was always ready for duty except when in the hospital for about 10 days in Florence, AL. He had the mumpts.
    • The regiment came to Sparta. Each company could go home and stay for 2-3 days.
    • When the order came through to cross the mountain, General Dibrell told his men to go home and get clothes and meet up with the regimentt.
    • Colonel Daughtery was sent to round up men and then go to the command.
    • WLR stayed with him for 2-3 days and then went to Albany, KY.
    • They captured some of Wolfered's?? men.
    • They found out that there were Federal soldiers throughout the country.
    • Colonel Daughtery told us to go to Livingston and told us to take care of ourselves. We were to meet him on a certain day.
    • We met again, but the River was guarded and we were not able to get out.
    • We could not stay at our homes even if we wanted to..
    • Several old friends had been at McMinnville and taken the Oath. We decided it would be best to go to McMinnviille and take it. After taking the oath, we could go back.
    • We did not want to take the oath. But it was take it or go to prison or starve to death.
    • We met up with Federal soldiers and carried them to picket.
    • Three soldiers were parolled.
  • V. E. Bockman (27 Apr 1908) - Requests Status of WLR application
  • A. W. Boyd (27 Apr 1908) - Supports his claim
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (28 Apr 1908) - Sends Status
  • WLR (30 Apr 1908) - WLR gets same account of how he got out of the war.
  • WLR (1 May 1908) - Requests Status of his pension application
  • WLR (4 May 1908) - Re-issues statement.
  • WLR (11 May 1908) - WLR gets same account of how he got out of the war.
  • WLR (24 Jul 1908) - He reissues his statement.
  • J. M. Whitson, J. N. Nickles & John Farris(31 Oct 1908) - We were in the same regiment as WLR.
    • Colonel Dibrell came to Sparta in 1863. He gave permission for men who lived in the area to go home and have their clothing cleaned up.
    • Before these men could return, General Dibrell left Sparta.
    • They tried to return to their command, but they met with Col. Daughtery who told them to remain with him. They went to Albany, KY.
    • Col. Daughtery said that he could not get through the Yankee line. He told them to go home and wait for a better chance to do so.
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (27 Oct 1908) - Sends status of his request.
  • A. R. Massa (4 Nov 1908) - Also parolled at McMinnville
  • WLR (5 Nov 1908) - Sent in his affidavit
  • WLR (19 Jan 1909) - Requests status
  • WLR (15 Jul 1909) - WLR states his reasons as to why he did not return to the army
    • His clothes were at his home. He received permission from General Dibrell to go get them and return to the army.
    • He made three or four attempts to get back to the army.
    • He continues with the same explanation as in previous letters.
  • WLR (23 Apr 1910) - Pleading his case
  • George M. Moore (15 Oct 1910) - Supports his claim
  • James M. Nichols - 8th Tennessee (Dibrell's) Cavalry (15 Oct 1910) - Supports his claim
  • Mathew Langford (15 Oct 1910) - Supports his cliam
  • WLR (15 Oct 1910) - Re-issues his statement
  • Tennessee Board of Pension Examiners (19 Aug 1911) - Sends status of his request
  • WLR (22 Aug 1911) - re-issues his statement.
  • WLR (27 Sep 1911) - re-issues his statement.
  • Special Examiner (18 Jan 1912) - Who went with you to McMinnville?
  • WLR (31 Jan 1912) - Re-issues his statement
  • G. V. Cooper (14 Jul 1913) - Requests status of WLR's pension application
  • WLR (17 Jul 1913) - WLR gets same account of how he got out of the war.
  • WLR (13 Oct 1913) - WLR has responded as to "why he did not return to his command." He along with J. M. Nickles, Matt Langford, J. M. Whitson, and G. M. Moore tried to get back to their command but could not.
  • WLR (about Apr 1914) - There are four neighbors who have died in the last few months that were on the roll: Mr. Lankford, R. F. Parkison, Absalom Bryant & J. M. Rayburn. I will be 77 years old on the 28th of this month.
  • J. F. Dyer, Physician, (11 Apr 1914) - Performed Physical Exam
  • WLR (18 Jul 1914) - Requests status report on his application
  • WLR writes Rutledge Smith to see if he can find out why WLR is not receiving a pension.
  • WLR (27 Jul 1914) - Submits another affidavit
  • Rev. R. M. Judd (27 Apr 1914) - His age is 68 years old. He was present in the Parol Office when WLR was paroled. WLR was there at the same time as Martin West, F. M. West & Bob Perrin were paroled.
  • Rutledge Smith (29 Jul 1914) - Request status of WLR's application
  • Special Examiner (30 Jul 1914) - Sends Status
  • WLR writes Rutledge Smith (13 Oct 1914) - Why am I not getting a pension?
  • WLR writes Rutledge Smith (15 Oct 1914) - Please talk to the board in my behalf?
  • Rutledge Smith (16 Oct 1914) - Supports his claim.
  • WLR (15 Jul 1915) - Sent in his current ciircumstances
  • Algood Moore (9 Jul 1925) - WLR and C. M. West were married 23 February 1860 in Putnam County. The marriage records were destroyed by fire in 1898.



( Download Full Pension Application)


  • Filed 10 July 1925
  • Accepted
  • Married 23 February 1860
  • Resident of Tennessee all her life
  • Maiden Name: Celia Margaret West
  • Born: 1838 in Overton County
  • Husband was born in 1837 in Jackson County
  • Married in Putnam County by Sam McCaleb Esq
  • Husband died in January 1916 in Cookeville
  • Children: 4 boys and 1 girl living
  • Witness: J. L. Quarles and James M. Nichols
    • Lives in Sparta, TN
    • Has known her several years
    • JM Nichols was present at her wedding.


  • 1850 Census: Jackson County, TN, Page 262
  • 1860 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 45
  • 1870 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 113
  • 1880 Census: PutnamCounty, TN, Page 87A
  • 1900 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 15B
  • 1910 Census: Putnam County, TN, Page 40A


Putnam County, TN
Will Book 6
Online at FamilySearch

  • Date the Will was Written: Feb 12, 1907
  • Date the Will was Recorded : Feb 8, 1916
  • Spouse: Celia M. Ray
  • Other Information: W. L. Ray & C. M. Ray


Putnam County Herald, 6 January 1916, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Page 1
WILLIAM L. RAY - Death has again visited Cookeville and has taken away one of our most respected and aged citizens -- William L. Ray. He was stricken the first of last week with pneumonia and gradually became weaker, suffering considerably, until death came Wednesday morning, about 9:30 o'clock, while he was surrounded by his family and a number of relatives and friends. Mr. Ray was nearly 79 years of age, having been born April 28, 1837, and died Jan. 5, 1916. He had been a devout Christian nearly all his life, having been an active church member since childhood. Until about two years ago when he affliated with Church of the Nazarenes, he was a member of the Methodist church. He was an Odd Fellow and Mason, and served in the Confederate army. Mr. Ray married Miss Selia M. West Feb. 23, 1860, and was a devoted husband and kind and loving father for over fifty years. Besides his wife, he leavs five children -- one daughter, Mrs. J. G. Chapin; and four sons, Hensley, Daneil, Marshall and Robinson, all of whom reside here except Hensley, whose home is at Murfreesboro. The Funeral was conducted by Bro. E. W. Chambers, of Riddleton, Thursday morning at the home, quite a large crowd being present despite the extreme inclemency of the weather. Burial was at the West graveyard in the afternoon.

Putnam County Herald, 11 October 1928, Vol. XXVI, No. 32, Page 1
MRS. CELIA RAY -- Mrs. Celia Ray, mother of Marshall and Robinson Ray, died this morning at the home of her son, Robinson Ray, who lives on the Smithville Road, just at the South East Boundary of Cookeville. Mrs. Ray was the widow of the late William Ray, and had reached an advanced age at the time of her death. She was a splendid Christian woman and had lived a useful life.


  • Death Certificate: Putnam County, TN (1916) - #303 - William L. Ray
  • Death Certificate: Putnam County, TN (1928) - #24448 - Celia. Ray
  • Putnam County Herald, 30 April 1914, Vol. XII, No. 17, Page 7
    BIRTHDAY DINNER -- A surprise birthday dinner was given Mr. W. L. Ray at his home on Tuesday, April 28. His daughter, Mrs. John Chapin and each of his daughters-in-law prepared something nice to eat at home and when Mr. Ray returned from town at 11 o'clock he found much to his surprise and pleasure that all the guests had arrived and the table was groaning under the weight of every good thing that tends to please the appetite. One thing of interest was the cake for which the grandchildren drew. It was beautifully decorated with violets and candy. There were eight of them taking part in the contest. Miss Maude Chapin was the lucky one. Although everybody had eaten all that they could, they insisted on having the cake cut. Very much to Maude's regret and disapproval the cake was cute and each one took a piece and a bite, only to find that it was biscuit dough cake. Everyone enjoyed a good laugh over it. Mr. Ray celebrated his seventy-seventh birthday. He is strong and active and in good health, having plowed all the forenoon on that day. His wife, a few years his junior, is whole hearty and enjoyed the surprise as much as he. Mr. Ray received quite a shower of birthday card as well as some valuable and useful gifts. Mr. Ray's family is one of the best known and most highly respected of this community, and what is most particularly beautiful in their home life is the fact that they do not seek pleasure outside of the home, but the immediate families of children and grand children seem to live in mostly a little domain all their own, enjoying above everything else each others companionship. All of the children were present except Hensley Ray and family of Murfreesboro, who were unable to be there,but they were not overlooked for as soon as dinner was over a box was fixed for them and mailed out on the 3:20 train. Late in the afternoon the guests departed, wishing for Bro. Ray and wife many more years of happiness and health.
  • Putnam County Herald, 9 September 1915, Vol. XIII, No. 36, Page 1
    A Pleasant Visit - My wife and I have returned home from a week's visit with friends and relatives and also attended the holiness meeting at Stonewall. Rev. John Owens is conducting the services and is a fine preacher. As we returned home we stopped at Pleasant Grove for the morning service and heard Brother Howell talk to the school children. He made a good talk. Finest corn crops I ever saw: having lots of rain. We saw a lot of fine apples and pears on our trip. We went to a fine prayer meeting at the Jared schoolhouse, a big crowdand good interest. People seem to be in a spirit of prayer everywhere. There is a time for all things, and it seems that this is the time to pray. Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow." W. L. Ray